HOUSTON — Monkeypox cases in the Houston area and across Texas continue to climb steadily, new numbers showed Tuesday.
For the first time, Texas is reporting a female has been diagnosed with the virus. No other details were released.
Editor's note: The videos attached to this article are from previous reports.
She is one of 110 cases diagnosed statewide, according to the Department of State Health Services, with 34 reported in the Houston region, which includes dozens of counties.
“We recognize that that’s an undercount. There are certainly more people in the community that have it," Dr. David Persse, the chief medical officer for the City of Houston, said.
Now, the lack of resources and vaccines are causing some concern for some medical professionals.
Persse said that’s a small number compared to our population.
He said testing is becoming more widely available but recognizes the state is lacking when it comes to vaccines.
“The original vaccine that has been made available is only in limited supply, and so, the CDC is in a really difficult spot of trying to portion that out as supply increases across the country. Do I wish we had more vaccines? Absolutely. And I'm sure every public health officer in the nation feels the exact same way," Persse said.
The Texas Department of State Health Services reported there are currently 20,000 doses available to local health departments, but they must be requested.
Only those who are actually exposed to monkeypox can get the vaccine in Texas.
Persse said the vaccine is only one layer of protection and says with or without it you’d still have to take personal precautions.
How does monkeypox spread?
- The disease, which can cause a serious skin rash, appears to be spreading largely via direct contact with the skin or saliva of an infected person.
- Monkeypox can spread from person to person through direct contact with the rash, scabs or bodily fluids like saliva.
- It can also be transmitted with prolonged face-to-face contact via respiratory droplets.
- Pregnant women can transmit the virus to their fetus through the placenta.
- At this time, it's not known if monkeypox can spread through semen or vaginal fluids. However, the DSHS says the majority of Texas cases, so far, involve men who've had sex with other men.
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Rash that looks like pimples or blisters; the rash often appears first on the face and/or inside the mouth and then on other parts of the body.
Anyone who develops a rash should avoid direct contact with others and contact their health care provider as soon as possible for the next steps.
Until the rash is completely healed, you can spread the virus.
Is monkeypox deadly?
Infections with the strain of monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak—the West African strain—are rarely fatal. Over 99% of people who get this form of the disease are likely to survive. However, people with weakened immune systems, children under 8 years of age, people with a history of eczema, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding may be more likely to get seriously ill or die.
Although the West African strain is rarely fatal, symptoms can be extremely painful, and people might have permanent scarring resulting from the rash.